A new refresh of Samsung's budget-friendly Chromebook 3 appears to have been spotted on display at Best Buy prior to any kind of official announcement from the company. That's according to a tipster who contacted Chrome Unboxed but didn't reveal any details about where the Best Buy in question was located. The source also claimed the laptop-like device might be in stores as early as July 1. That hasn't panned out but doesn't necessarily remove the chances of a launch at some point this week. The SKUs shared by the unnamed source – XE501C13-K01US and XE501C13-K02US – have since shown up in customs-related documents and at the Green Electronics Council's EPEAT. It's indicated there that the new SKU is an 11.6-inch flat panel notebook made by Samsung Electronics.
The device is shown in the EPEAT listing as having several improvements to its rating in terms of environmental-friendliness. Among the points awarded are its reduced usage of 'environmentally sensitive materials,' packaging, and longevity as well as a reference to its end of lifecycle management. With a 'gold' rating, this Samsung netbook at very least seems to be a greener machine than its predecessor. Looking beyond that, there's no much information to be taken from the newly leaked image. Some small changes appear to have been made to the outward appearance of the device, including the removal of curved lips where the display meets the keyboard. The webcam also seems to be built on an updated module, completely embedded into the body above the display rather than residing in a square-shaped cutout slot. That's also accompanied by two mics on either side of the sensor. Meanwhile, the hinge looks slightly more sturdy than in previous models.
Aside from those points, however, nothing visible on the exterior seems to have changed much. The display unit shows an Intel label but the previous model already featured an Intel Celeron CPU so there's no way to know if that's been updated at all. Charging still looks to be tied to a DC port rather than using the now almost standardized USB Type-C. That's hardly surprising on the budget end of the Chromebook spectrum but makes discerning any differences that much more difficult.